Ex-teammates set tone tough netball derby

Helen Housby of the Swifts. Mark Evans/Getty Images

There was no love lost and no surprise as rival captains Abbey McCulloch and Kim Green set the tone in a highly-physical Super Netball Sydney derby clash.

Swifts wing defence McCulloch and Giants wing attack Green are former teammates but friendship went missing in a clash where players hit the deck with regularity before the Swifts broke through for their maiden derby win on Sunday.

"I knew it was going to be that way," McCulloch said.

"That's how it was when I used to play in the same team as Kim and we played against each other in training - nothing unusual."

The 55-54 win was a huge boost for the Swifts ahead of their next match against the unbeaten West Coast Fever.

They had lost both all-Sydney clashes of the inaugural season last year and now share a 2-1 season record with their rivals.

"How big to beat the Giants, it's a line in the sand moment," said Swifts coach Briony Akle.

"It's another first for us to be able to go, right, the monkey's off the back, you've actually beaten them."

As the game drew closer to its conclusion, Akle reminded players to see past any Giants grey amid the 8068 spectators seated beyond the shared court touchlines and look for Swifts red.

"A big part of our game plan this year is - we obviously have structures about how we want to play certain teams, but we're very much focused on looking for red, looking for red," McCulloch said.

"We really like each other - I think that shows out on court. We play for each other, we play for our families and we play for our Swifts family as well."

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald doesn't see a hometown disadvantage when facing the more established Swifts.

"I think we gained so much support last year and we have such great membership and we have experienced players, so there is no reason for us to feel like that," Fitzgerald said.